PORTLAND, Ore. – Two more envelopes containing suspicious white powder kept hazmat teams busy Thursday. Like previous incidents, the powder at both locations turned out to be harmless but both letters targeted human resource departments and had the word “anthrax” written on them.
The first letter was found in the Market Center building near Southwest 4th Avenue and Market Street.
It was delivered to room 518, which is used by Portland State University’s human resource department. According to Portland Fire Bureau spokesman Paul Corah, it was simply addressed to "Portland State."
There were eight people in the room, although only two were exposed to the powder, Corah said. The two exposed workers were isolated, until it was determined that the powder was non-toxic.
According to Corah, sources said that the envelope addressed to Portland State was similar to the two envelopes found Wednesday – one in the Port of Portland offices at Portland International Airport and the other at the downtown Hilton. Both incidents involved letters or envelopes with the word "anthrax" written on them.
Just after 4 p.m., hazmat crews responded to the second white powder scare at the Marquam Plaza Building at 2525 Southwest 3rd.
Firefighters said 15 people were exposed to the suspicious powder and were isolated while the substance was tested.
The office affected was the Human Resource Division of OHSU on the ground floor. OHSU officials said the envelope had the word "anthrax" on the outside of it. Their employees immediately called police.
One employee said the letter was specifically addressed to the HR department. She said when they saw the odd letter and felt it they didn't open it but called public safety instead.
The employee described the letter as crumbled up and the substance inside, when shaken, was "like a salt, powdery substance."
In addition to the two envelopes found on Wednesday and the two on Thursday, the FBI is also investigating white powder hoaxes at Lloyd Center mall on Tuesday and at the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse on April 26.
"It's too early to say if they are related but it is certainly an area investigators will look at," FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele said.
Steele said even thought the powder wasn't harmful, the perpetrator will face serious criminal charges.
"People who perpetuate hoax attacks can face very serious penalties, including time in federal prison," she said.
The FBI has not said if they have any suspects in the case.